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Coram Deo

July 5, 2011

I wish I had a clever intro for this today…but I just don’t…so take just a moment and read through Ecclesiastes 7:1-13 and we’ll see if we can make some sense of it.

 There are several, sort of sequential sections of advice that the preacher is offering through the course of this text, and we don’t have the space to cover it all in depth.  He begins with something obvious…that a “good name is better than precious ointment.”  We really aren’t much of a “cologne and perfume” generation…in my case; my cologne is whatever laundry detergent Lauri picks out…so we sort of miss the idea of “precious ointment.”  What he is saying here is that the inside is more important than the outside…there isn’t anything wrong with exercise, or eating right, or even bathing (in fact, all of those are encouraged), but what good is any of it, if when you walk into a room…the people all roll their eyes?  No matter how pretty you make the outside, or mask the filth, your name…your essence…is much more important…and that is what most people really see.

 Now, most of us won’t have a problem with that.  Most of us would readily agree with the stance that what’s most important is what’s inside.  But then he says something that we might have a hard time grasping when he says, “and the day of death (is better) than the day of birth.”  Most of us, even the believers, fail to realize the reality that for the Christian, birth is about potential…it is about what God might do…and death is about fulfillment…for the believer, it is a celebration of the work that God has done. 

 He follows that with some great advice about how we choose our friends.  In verse 5, he is essentially saying that it is better to have people in your life who are going to confront you and hold you accountable, than it is to run with a herd of morons who pat you on the back when you need a kick to the pants.  Verse 6 is a challenging verse, he says, “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools.”  What he is saying here is that only a fool is going to stand there and laugh while he is on fire.  The wise man, when he smells the smoke, and sees the flames on his arm…he doesn’t stand there laughing about it…he screams for help…doesn’t he?  He might stop, drop, and roll…but he doesn’t stand there and burn to death while laughing like an idiot. 

 This is the point where I say, “Here’s what scares me” and you think to yourself, “He’s just being dramatic.”  What scares me is that I think there are a bunch of us standing around on fire, just sort of hoping it will go out…or worse…we’re indifferent to the flames at all.  So, instead of confessing our porn addictions, or jealous obsessions, or our dangerous indulgences…we just stand there laughing and pretending that everything is okay…forgetting that everything in life is Coram Deo…before the face of God.  For Christians, we rarely hear about the light switch that shoots out some smoke every time you cut it on…we just hear about the house burning down.  In reality, the Church should look much more like a burn unit than it does a magazine cover.  We all have scars, some of us are missing ears and fingers from the fires…but that is what makes the work of Christ so incredible.  That’s why we will one day be able to agree with verse 1…we will be able to stand there and marvel at the wondrous grace of salvation…the grace that took a burnt up and deformed “me” and made us His own…made us whole.  That’s the beauty of fulfillment…that’s the celebration…that’s what our God does.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 7:21 am

    I just hit that I like this post, but realized I am logged in as you..thank you for this post… I needed to read this this morning. -Lauri

  2. Kim Hawkins permalink
    July 6, 2011 5:13 pm

    Thanks Adam! I so agree with Laurie! I need this today & everyday!

    VS 6. I feel we are exposed to so much in this world that is not of God/Christ. We are tolerant and /or allow ourselves to indulge just a little at a time and we eventually become complacent with it. We don’t even realize that we are burning (with sin). It compares to cooking a frog. If you start with cool water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not even realize it is cooking/burning. I think sin is sometimes like that in our lives. We start with just a little wrong and before we know it we are wollowing in sin and we didn’t even realize it. Most times it is so gradual that we can’t even remember how we got there. Scary! More the reason to be in prayer and God’s Word on a daily basis!

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